▲ Supporters at World Cup Stadium in Seogwipo cheering during the game between Korea and Greece on June 12. Photo courtesy Seogwipo City Hall
It happens once every four years and lasts for 30 days which makes it a great deal better than Christmas. It’s the FIFA World Cup and Korea did their chances of extending their stay in the competition no harm whatsoever with a comfortable win over Greece in their first game. It was also the first win of the tournament after a couple of uninspiring draws on the opening day.
Korea opened the scoring in the seventh minute through Lee Jung Soo who side footed in on the volley from a deep cross. The Greeks were never really in the game and when Park Ji Sung dispossessed Loukas Vyntra and then ran into the Greek penalty area and slotted past the Greek keeper in the 52nd minute, it was no great surprise. Korea could have scored more here although Greece probably couldn’t have, but it was a very solid start for Korea.
Bump! Boing! Ouch! That was the sound of Korea hitting the ground again after Argentina pulled them down from their opening game euphoria. It was a mixture of bad defending and bad luck but the score shouldn’t have been 4-1.
Indeed, until Gonzalo Higuain scored his second and Argentina’s third goal in the 76th minute, Korea looked the better side in the second half. Football is however a cruel game and after a debatable third goal, Argentina grabbed an emphatic fourth to seal the deal.
In the first half Korea had looked nervous for the first 15 minutes and this nervousness became manifest when Park Chu Young deflected a Lionel Messi free kick into his own net in the 16th minute. Higuain then grabbed the first of two headers 17 minutes later before, on the brink of half time, Lee Chung Yong scored an opportunist goal to put Korea back into the game.
Alas, it was not to be and two further Higuain goals put paid to Korea’s chances against Argentina. Then it was on to the vital last game against Nigeria…
Editor’s Note: Just before this issue went to press, Korea drew 2-2 with Nigeria, with a goal from Lee Jung Soo in the 38th minute off a free kick by Ki Sung Yueng and a free kick by Park Chu Young in the 48th minute that skittered past the Nigerian goalie. With Argentina defeating Greece 2-0, this put the Taeguk Warriors in second place in Group B and secured them a spot in the knockout rounds for the first time on foreign soil.
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